When Susanne dropped me off at the Crystal Hotel in Portland on Sunday evening on her merry way south, I wanted to go out. I really did. But I was so tired, and it was so hot outside and the room was so cool and comfortable. So I let myself collapse on the bed with a copy of Daphne du Maurier’s Jamaica Inn, with an occasional peep out of my window to see the street life below.
This time my room was “Wrecking Ball” by Emmylou Harris, which is funny because Emmylou is an alumna of UNCG, where I went to college and now work. Each room at the Crystal is decorated on the theme of a song by an artist who has performed at the Crystal Ballroom.
I had one day to spend in Portland. Going to Powell’s Books is a requirement for me, so after breakfast in the Zeus Cafe downstairs, I headed there for a couple of head-swimming hours.
I decided to take public transit out to Washington Park to see the Portland Japanese Garden that afternoon. It’s a tad pricey at $14.95 adult admission, but well worth it on a mild sunny day. I wandered up and down the paths for a few hours, sitting occasionally on a shaded bench listening to a water feature or watching the koi.
When I returned, I drank a Crystal Terminator Stout on the sidewalk besides Ringler’s Annex (also part of the Crystal), and then I took advantage of the saltwater soaking pool in the basement for the first time. I will never skip this again. I wish I could go back in time and do it the two times I stayed here before. Then I went to Al’s Den (also part of the Crystal), and had a bite to eat while listening to an Irish band. In other words, I ate and drank everything during my day in Portland at the Crystal, and I was happy with that. I heartily recommend it, unless city noise really bothers you (there are earplugs), or you just can’t survive without a TV, or sharing a bathroom in the hallway is extremely objectionable to you (they are clean and I’ve never had a problem with it).